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“Mountain Trek changed my life” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa

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Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa
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3800 North St., Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia V0G 1A0, Canada   |  
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
North Hollywood
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Mountain Trek changed my life”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2012

As ridiculous as it may sound, Mountain Trek completely changed my life.

When I arrived at the lodge, I was not in good shape. I was depressed, 80 pounds overweight and I felt powerless to do anything about it. I’d chosen Mountain Trek because so many of the reviews here on TripAdvisor used the phrase “life-changing”. And that’s what I needed – a life-change.

My week there was hard. I was just so out-of-shape. But the staff was amazing. They encouraged me and seem to genuinely care about me. And even with the perma-fatigue, I could literally feel myself getting stronger every day. By the end of the week, I had lost seven pounds!

And what about the food? Well, since my normal diet consisted of soda and baked goods and ice-cream and salty fried foods, I was worried about the “spa cuisine”. But you know what? It was incredible! Everything was super-tasty and I made sure I got all the recipes to take home. And miraculously, even though I was eating less, I never felt like I was starving.

I also thought the lectures were great. I really did learn so much about how my body works – and how to make it work more efficiently. They also address dealing with stress -- which I really needed.

Oh, and an added bonus? You’re so tired at the end of the day that you’ll get some of the best sleep of your life!

But can one week in the mountains really make that much of a difference?

Well, since coming home two months ago, I’ve used what I learned to lose a total of 32 pounds… so far. ☺ (Only 50 more to go!) My palate has been completely transformed. I don't crave sugar or salt or caffeine anymore. I snack on fruits, nuts, veggies, hummus and dips. I'm never starving and yet I'm naturally eating less.

I also actually CRAVE exercise now. I’ve joined a hiking club and a tennis club. I’m doing yoga and strength training. It’s crazy. When I wake up, my body WANTS to exercise!

But my life has been changed in other ways too – not just the physical. I’m happy again, I’m smiling again, I’m dealing with stress so much better. It’s just night and day. A previous reviewer called Mountain Trek a "complete body, mind, soul experience" and I couldn't agree more. I'm stronger now in every possible way.

I’m sure there are those who go to Mountain Trek just for the great hiking and the beautiful scenery. But if you’re anything like I was, it can be so much more than that. It really can change your life.

Oh, and I want to address the one bad review here. Clearly, she didn’t bother to read any of the literature before she went. Go to the Mountain Trek website, click on the “Boutique Fitness Retreat” tab, scroll down to “What You Will Experience”, then choose “A Typical Day”. That’s the program, folks. If you don’t want to do that, then don’t go. This isn’t a five-star spa designed to entertain and pamper you at all times. This is a boot camp designed to help you live your best life. In a gorgeous setting. With fantastic people. And I recommend it with all my heart.

Room Tip: Just keep in mind that the rooms are sparse, not plush. And the bathrooms are tiny. But you really...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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111 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York City
Top Contributor
341 reviews 341 reviews
72 hotel reviews
Reviews in 105 cities Reviews in 105 cities
292 helpful votes 292 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2012

Plus side: Amazing location in the mountains in British Columbia. This is an active vacation; I came to get into shape and to clear my head through communing with nature. I did get better endurance, thanks to the hikes, and better flexibility, thanks to the yoga, and better state of being thanks to the calm and quiet, the healthy diet, the detox and the massage. Communing with nature did not happen as much as I wished, although this is due to my own lack of being in good shape. The yoga studio is incredible and I loved the experience of daily morning yoga. The hikes are challenging, but you pace yourself, and you feel yourself get stronger with each day. The lodge has a small hot tub, and three types of sauna, which are great after a hike or before a massage. The hot springs very near to the resort are such a treat after a day of exercise. Most meals are delicious and always varied, which allows you to come away with many ideas for healthier eating at home. The limited caloric diet never leaves you hungry. The staff are very friendly, the guides are as well. The yoga instructors are excellent.

Minus side: If you are not already in great shape, there is not much opportunity to commune with nature, which is a shame, as the scenery around you, the mountains, lakes and forest is stunning. The problem is that lack of endurance doesn't allow much opportunity to truly soak in the nature. Consequently, get into shape before you go, and when you get there, not only will you improve your endurance, but you will also enjoy the nature more. There is opportunity to soak in the scenery and self-reflect in the evenings, but I was just too tired, and the place lack a pool. The entire time I was wishing for an infinity pool that looked across the lake at the mountains. Additionally, I was expecting somewhat of a spa setting. This is not the case. The lodge is very nice, but can get crowded, and the rooms are spartan, albeit with comfortable beds. The bathrooms are tiny, and some rooms have single beds, so be warned. Additionally, this is not a place for younger people, I am in my early 30's. Most clientele is well into their 50's if not beyond, and most are conservative. If you are a younger urbanite like myself, you may feel like a fish out of water, but then you come here for reasons other than to be social.

All in all, this is an expensive, active vacation. I am glad I did it, but I did expect more luxury for the price point. However, the change in my fitness level and the decrease in stress after two weeks at Mountain Trek are priceless. For an urbanite like me, with indulgence at every turn, I needed to get far away and focus on health. If this sounds like you, then pull the trigger and go.

Room Tip: Requesting rooms is not possible, so you may be put in a room with a single bed. I lucked out and h...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2012

The Mountain Trek experience far exceeded my expectations! From sunrise to sundown, the program is chock full of a complete body, mind, soul experience. It was only after I returned home and had the chance to fully reflect on what transpired during the week at MT that I was able to grasp the sheer magnitude of the program. The guides are so experienced, positive and encouraging that I didn't realize how much I was able to challenge my body. The guest lectures are so informative and engaging that I didn't realize just how much practical advice and useful take home tools were provided, (the interrelatedness between health, sleep, exercise, metabolism, stress, weight and nutrition would take years to conclude on your own). The gourmet food was so delicious and filling that I didn't realize how few calories I was consuming. This program is a gift to all who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elora, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2012

Beautiful location, great staff, excellent facilities (sauna, steam, hot tub, gym, yoga room with a view). Mountain Trek exceeded all of my expectations and gave me just the "kick start" I needed to get motivated to be active and healthy again. While there, I lost over 10 pounds in just 6 days. After returning home I ran a 10K and have remained motivated to make better, healthier lifestyle choices. Even if you are young, healthy and don't need to lose any weight, you will love this place.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2012

Have been twice - for snow shoeing in winter and hiking late spring. Food is remarkable, surroundings unbelievable and the expert guides are second to none. This is the new Ashram...and its packed with lots of support and kindness while you challenge your mind and body to do things you didn't think possible.

Room Tip: They are all lovely, simple and very very clean. You will literally only sleep in your room....you...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2012

Attended late May with only 5 other guests. Mountain Trek is beautifully situated. The view from the exercise studio is to die for - wispy clouds in the mountains as the sun rose and rainbows over the lake against the mountains as the sun set. It is hard to beat the Canadian Rockies for hiking. The food is excellent, although I cannot say I forgot that I was getting only 1400 calories a day (1200 for the women). But best of all is the staff. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was a doll. The guides were born to do this, the guests had whispered conversations about stealing the cook, every service provided was spot on, the equipment was top-notch and in excellent condition, and the lodge is impeccable, pretty, and comfortable. Everyone has a sense of humor. Kirk did most of the lectures, and he clearly keeps up with the latest in the research. This place is very light, to the point of invisibility, on the new-agey stuff. And Kirk's taste in music is impeccable, i.e. he likes exactly the same things I do.

Now let's get to the advice. Mountain Trek does an excellent job of accommodating various levels of fitness and hiking experience. With only 6 guests (the usual complement is 14-16), we had 3 guides on every trek and 4 (!) on our last one, and always had 3 levels of rigor. That said, this place is challenging. Yoga in the morning, cardio/weights in the evening, and 3-4 hours of hiking in the middle will test you. Every day is full with essentially no free time and I promise that you are not going be staying up late. The running joke was that, every evening when everything is done, you can read the first page of the book you brought with you. Don't worry, you probably won't finish the first page before you fall to sleep so it will be new every day.

More advice: clear your week. You will have time to email/text/talk to the kids but you will not get work done. Trust me on this.

Final thoughts: Mountain Trek was a peak experience for me. I left feeling Tony-the-Tiger great, got to see bears and elk and other non-urban life forms, and did it with smart, funny, and warm people in beautiful, beautiful surroundings. I will be back.

Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middlebury, Vermont
Top Contributor
146 reviews 146 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2012

It just doesn't get any better than this. There is no place like Mountain Trek - the setting in the gorgeous Canadian Rockies (Purcells and Selkirks) makes for unbelievable hiking opportunities every day. You could stay for a month and still not exhaust the trails around MT. The guides are beyond words - my friend got injured and they piggyback/carried her up the steep hills, treated her and got her to the hospital. All guides are SUPER well trained in wilderness rescue and first aid and are just fantastic people. I've been to several "big name" retreats, but Mountain Trek is the most special. The food is fantastic -it's hard to believe it's so low calories. The schedule is rigorous, but it WILL be life changing. Would highly recommend paying extra to get massages EVERY NIGHT as you will probably need them. Your laundry gets done 1-2 times a day, lectures are super helpful and more importantly, they teach you how to export this kick start to your daily life (and NOT just diet and exercise). I wish all my friends could come with me to experience Mountain Trek. I plan to come every year. It's impossible in a short review to encapsulate how wonderful, energizing and transformative my week was. I am counting down the days till my next visit. You WILL work hard (and not a bad idea to work up a bit of fitness before coming) but they do adapt all the hikes to all levels, so anyone is welcome and would benefit. Change your life TODAY!!!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa

Address: 3800 North St., Ainsworth Hot Springs, British Columbia V0G 1A0, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Kootenay Rockies > Ainsworth Hot Springs
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Ainsworth Hot Springs
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mountain Trek Health, Fitness & Weight Loss Retreats are high-intensity hiking fitness vacations in beautiful locations with experienced, mature guides. While the focus of many of our guests is to improve management of health issues or achieve weigh loss, we promote transformative "lifestyle" changes through the program. This includes cutting edge lectures in nutrition, sleep and stress management techniques. It's an all inclusive, highly structured boot camp style program but with heart. Included in a 2 week program; 8 massages, transportation to and from the airport, all meals, private room with en-suite, 10 mountain hikes, morning yoga sessions, evening fitness classes, usage of spa & saunas and free access to the hot springs. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mountain Trek Hotel Ainsworth Hot Springs

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